Monday, 29 Aug 2016
It's even more daunting when the father of your children comes home a week before Father's Day with his annual supply of socks and jocks already purchased. Yep, my partner came home last Friday with a crumpled grey woolies shopping bag in hand and emptied his new purchases out on the freshly made bed so we could all take note. Yes, he was subliminally telling the family that he can buy his own Rio undies and tradies socks and that this year we'd all have to think outside of the box! Message received loud and clear, Gift Idea No. 1 was now out the window!
The easy option in the past had been Gift Idea No 2. The Gift Card - Now my better half is an all adventurer type of bloke and, in the past that's been easy to buy for. He's an electrician by trade so when he's not doing his day job climbing though a roof or got his head stuck in a switchboard he's fishing, camping or a mixture of the two. With all this fishing and camping though every Birthday, Christmas, Easter and former Father's Day I've given the gift that keeps on giving, the Gift Card. I know, I know, it's kind of a cop-out but it's an easy last minute option, you can pick one up on the way home and he gets to pick out whatever he wants. Right?
Unfortunately though I'm now faced with the grim reality that my guy owns just about every BCF and Ray's Outdoors product ever stocked, and it's not so lovingly stored in our undersized shed. To paint the picture of just how much stuff we have, last Christmas he used his vouchers to buy matching kayaks when we already had a kayak stored in our shed roof. Quite obviously he'd forgotten that we already had one and never use it. How do you forget that you already own a kayak?
Gift Idea No. 3. Darrell Lea Chocolates….the safe bet for the sweet tooth Dad who doesn't care so much about his waist line….not my guy though who is suddenly super conscious that with our pending wedding just 6 weeks away he's on the health kick of his life to lose weight before the big day, and before you state the obvious, yes he already has a gym membership.
Gift Idea No. 4 Weekend Getaway – No time with pending wedding arrangements previously mentioned.
Gift Idea No. 5 Clothes – I have on every occasion had to return clothing items I've purchased because we both have different opinions on what is fashionable for a 30-something guy to wear. I have even had to return the traditional purchase of socks and jocks because the fashionable Y-front boy-cut style of Jocks I like doesn't "give enough movement down there".
Gift Idea No. 6 Jewellery / Watch – I'm a little restricted here as any kind of metal jewellery or watch acts as kind of conductor if my partner was ever electrocuted at work. That being said, I did purchase an expensive "going out" watch for him in the past but he never remembers where it is and is always in too much of a rush to find it. Therefore the cheap, plastic Seiko takes prime position on his wrist always.
Gift Idea No. 7 BBQ Utensils – My partner has just about every BBQ utensil known to man. He even has a "kiss the chef" apron and range of spicy meat rubs and smoky BBQ sauces that will keep our family of carnivores interested in cooking and eating meat for many years to come.
I'm tempted to excuse my lack of inventive gift ideas on a boycott of Father's day altogether. The fact that it's quite obviously just a frivolous celebration used to convince people to spend their hard earned money, while subsequently contributing to boost the economy is one thing, and why should I contribute or encourage it?
I'm just not sure that excuse will fly considering when my partner turned and said to me during a routine grocery stop last May "You don't really want anything for Mother's Day do you?" his words were followed by two days of silent treatment, water works and comments from me to the effect of "you and the kids must take me for granted" and "Do you know how much I do around here?" Ultimately he was guilt-ed into apologising for his remarks and as a result purchased many lavish Mother's Day gifts to make up for it.
For those who like to save money, many families now days are opening up "celebration" bank accounts. An account where you deposit all the money you would normally spend on these types of "celebrations" ultimately saving and being able to spend the money on larger items the family can benefit from, such as a new big screen TV or holiday.
Homemade gifts from the kids are also a winner for the Dad that's sentimental. However with 4 kids between us, we enviably end up with limited fridge display room and a glory box of homemade calendars, soap and neck ties that live in a box on the top shelf of the wardrobe.
Whatever your take is on Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Valentines Day or any other celebratory day where you feel that pang of obligation, motivated by fear, guilt or the exclusion of the world, to spend loads of money on the ones you love, all I can suggest is this. Keep it simple and when you run out of ideas just ask them what they want….yes ask.
While the element of surprise may be lost, at least you get them something they want or need and it doesn't necessarily have to cost a lot of money.
This year my man, and loving father of four, will be receiving a number of homemade goodies that the kids made at school, but he'll also be gifted with a good quality, and rather non-exciting stainless steel thermos. Probably to replace a cheap and nasty thermos he previously purchased with a BCF gift card and now doesn't keep anything warm long enough for you to drink it, but that's what he's asked for.
So let's stop over spending and over thinking it ladies, as they say, "there's no shame in asking".
Carly is Head of Marketing at Auswide Bank. She has 20 years marketing experience with a diverse career background in radio, tourism and the finance sector. Before joining Auswide Bank in 2014 Carly worked as the Live Events Manager for Australia’s most successful export, The Wiggles. She is a mother of four and, outside of Auswide Bank, enjoys camping and travelling with friends and family.